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Technical support to BiH laboratories for adaptation of requirements defined in the new ISO 17025:2017 (m/f)

Sweden/USAID FARMA II - Description of Project
Government of Sweden and USAID have awarded Cardno Emerging Markets USA a five-year US$18 million contract for implementation of the Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity II (FARMA II) project in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH). The purpose of the FARMA II Project is to create agricultural and agribusiness economic opportunities for BiH farmers and entrepreneurs. FARMA II will achieve this by assisting agricultural producer organizations to adopt European Union (EU) and international agricultural and food standards and new production techniques, produce new high value products and expand their access to foreign and domestic markets.

Background
International accreditation agreements provide an infrastructure that allows accredited certificates to be accepted around the world. This reduces the risk of products being rejected by international trading partners, and for the need to have products re-evaluated on entry into each country. Accreditation provides independent evaluation of conformity assessment bodies against recognized standards. The BiH Accreditation Agency (BATA) has significantly enhanced the acceptance of products and services across national borders, thereby creating a framework for support of international trade by removing technical barriers. In order for the laboratory to be accredited by BATA, it must meet the prescribed requirements and have implemented ISO 17025 "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories." The accreditation of laboratories is mandatory for continuation of the further export to the EU and CEFTA countries as well as for domestic market. The sample controls can be done only by ISO 17025 accredited laboratories.

Purpose of assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to support accredited laboratories and potential new laboratories in the process of accreditation of the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in implementation of new specification requirements for the competence to carry out tests, including sampling. This assignment is intended for laboratory personnel and laboratory management involved in the construction, application and maintenance of the laboratory management system.

All accredited laboratories (food, veterinary and agriculture institutes/laboratories) will need to initiate the transition to this new version of standard by November 30, 2020. There was a need to update the knowledge and expertise of laboratories, so that they can understand the practical implications of these changes and their rationale. Since the transition to a new standard is mandatory for accredited laboratories FARMA II organized theoretical trainings in May 2019, for accredited laboratories and those who planned to be accredited. Using of lessons learned a few laboratories already prepared documentation for audit, which should be done by a national accreditation body (BATA) in 2019. Other laboratories are still preparing their documentation for the transition to new standard and they requested additional technical assistance regarding ISO/IEC 17025:2017 from FARMA II project, which will be more practical oriented in their premises/laboratories (one to one practice sessions).

In order to successfully pass accreditation of the new ISO 17025:2017 conducted by BATA, laboratories must also conduct internal audits at planned intervals so that their administration receives a feedback message as to whether the existing system satisfies all the requirements (requirements of ISO 17025:2017 and its own requirements), whether they apply these requirements consistently and whether the system is effectively maintained. In order for this feedback to be realistic, auditors must be objective, competent in the area in which they conduct the audit, know the criteria, and have to be trained in auditing.

It is expected that by providing this technical assistance FARMA II will support up to 20 laboratories in the transition to a new ISO 17025:2017. Laboratories will be given practical instructions for their application and will be supported to plan and successfully switch from an old version of the ISO 17025 to the new and expanded edition (ISO/IEC 17025:2017).

Activities
The consultant is expected to provide a detailed plan for visiting of up to 20 laboratories in Bosnia and Herzegovina and provide them technical assistance on the requirements of the new standard. Technical assistance will enable laboratories to consider the requirements of this ISO/IEC 17025:2017, which are also the criteria for obtaining accreditation, as well as to give practical knowledge of the internal audit. The laboratory staff will be instructed how to adopt new standard requirements in order to adequately implement all of these in the lab's documentation and in their daily work. They will also be instructed how to prepare needed documentations and how to perform and satisfy requirements of internal audit.

Activities to be performed: Based on the needs, provide technical assistance for interested laboratories in their premises to check compliance to the adaptation of requirements defined in the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017. The technical assistance will be one or two days for each laboratory at their premises. The duration of technical assistance will depend on the status of prepared documentation.

The technical assistance should include, but is not limited to:

  • Consulting of laboratory staff on the preparation of all needed documentation for the transition from the old version of standard to the new version of the standard; Special attention should be given to some standard sections but it is not limited to:
    • Section six: personnel (point 6.2. of standard);
    • Section six equipment: frequency of calibration of test equipment and internal verification of equipment (points 6.4 and 6.5 of standard);
    • Section seven; Review of requests, offers and contracts: verification and validation of methods (point 7.2 of standard); managing of data and information (point 7.11 of standard);
    • Section eight: risk and opportunity assessment and its management (point 8.5 of standard);
    • Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty;
  • Counseling of laboratory staff on conducting the audit of a management system in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025:2017; setting up an audit program; risks and opportunities in managing audit programs; audit strategies (horizontal and vertical audit), documentation of objective evidence and non-compliance; audit report and other relevant topics related to internal audit.

    The consultant must closely work with laboratories in order to collect all needed data before visiting them. FARMA II will provide the introductions in this process.

Deliverables:

  • Work plan and agenda of schedule of activities to be prepared with FARMA II team;
  • Provide two days technical assistance for up to 20 laboratories regarding new standard requirements (understanding, interpretation & application of ISO 17025:2017) and to check compliance to the adaptation of requirements defined in the new ISO 17025:2017;
  • Provide technical assistance for laboratories regarding audit of a management system in accordance with ISO 17025:2017;
  • Attendance sheets, evaluation forms and photo documentation must be provided for all trainings (for each day separately);
  • Timely communication with project supervisor.

Timing and Level of Effort
Total LOE is estimated at up to 44 days and is expected to take place between November 2019 and end of May 2020. The consultant is expected to undertake seven trips to BiH during this period. The technical assistance will be provided at eighteen locations (targeting 20 laboratories within Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica, Travnik, Sarajevo, Mostar, Goražde, Livno, Bijeljina, Tuzla and Banja Luka).

General qualification, skills and professional experience

  • University degree in one of the following fields: biology, chemistry, biochemistry, agriculture (agri-food), veterinary medicine, human medicine, public health, epidemiology, toxicology, food chemistry, engineer or related areas;
  • Relevant professional experience on new edition ISO/IEC 17025:2017;
  • Excellent computer skills and proficiency in Microsoft Office applications;
  • Proven ability to work in a team and under pressure;
  • Excellent written and oral one of the official BiH languages and English language;
  • Excellent analytical, communication, presentation and facilitation skills.

Specific qualification, skills and professional experience:

  • Relevant professional experience in implementation ISO 17025 standard and all other relevant expertise necessary for performing technical assistance;
  • Understand the management practices and processes of laboratories based on his/her knowledge and experience in implementation and/or certification ISO 17025 standard;
  • Familiar with operation of microbiology, chemistry and similar laboratories working with food samples;
  • Capable to explain the reasons behind the changes and the intentions of new requirements;
  • Relevant professional experience on internal and/or external ISO 17025 audit and/or certification and all other relevant expertise necessary for implementation activity.


We encourage qualifying candidates to send a Cover Letter including at least three References and CV of 3 pages or less via info@farmabih.ba referencing in Subject: STTA for ISO 17025:2017

The closing date for the receipt of applications is October 31, 2019.
Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd is an equal opportunityemployer.
All information received will be treated with confidentiality.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.


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